Books - The Taliban: Wise and Frightening

Taliban: Islam, Oil and the New Great Game in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid, published by IB Tauris & Co Ltd

The World Today Published 1 May 2000 Updated 27 October 2020 2 minute READ

William Maley

Associate Professor of Politics, University of New South Wales, Australia

Ahmed Rashid has long been known as an author of works of the utmost distinction dealing with politics and society in South and Central Asia. His new book on the Taliban will be required reading not only for specialists, but for anyone who wishes to learn how the wider world contributed to the emergence of a pariah regime from the wreckage of the Afghans’ courageous struggle against the armed forces of the Soviet Union.

If there is a central lesson in Rashid’s book, it is that the Afghans have been shamefully misused by their ‘friends’. His analysis also makes it clear that ordinary Afghans deserve vastly more understanding and compassion than they have received.

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